A terrifying mob took to the streets of Milwaukee on Tuesday after police conducted a search for two missing teen girls.
Police are seeking several suspects in connection to an arson and a related shooting that took place the same evening.
What are the details?
Officers arrived at a Milwaukee-area home searching for two missing teens. The teens were reportedly last seen at the home, which people in the crowd said was a known sex-trafficking hotspot.
During the search, officers were bombarded by bricks and verbally abused as a mob set fire to the structure. At least three people were shot in a related melee.
According the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the gathering crowd included a “mix of neighbors observing the situation, people expressing frustration with police, and activists who’d marched in Milwaukee’s racial justice protests.”
The outlet reported that the missing persons investigation “morphed” over a period of hours as “tensions about police treatment ran high” and “rumors spread online.
By nightfall, three people — including two 14-year-olds — had been shot, a house was set on fire, and police had fired tear gas and pepper spray on some members of a scattered crowd of hundreds gathered outside a Milwaukee house where police earlier conducted an investigation into two missing teenage girls,” the Sentinel reported.
Later, a 24-year-old man was shot near the scene as someone fired shots at his vehicle, police said, the paper reported.
WISN-TV reported that people in the crowd began “throwing bricks and pieces of concrete at police.” Someone or multiple someones also began firing guns in the crowd, striking three people.
WISN reported that the teenage girls — ages 13 and 15 years — were located on Wednesday. WISN reported that there was no evidence the teens were ever at the house to begin with.
Pat Bills, who said his grandmother lives in the home that was burned to the ground, said that protesters were dead wrong for their actions.
“She’s a loving lady,” he said. “She had three strokes. She’s fighting for the last little life she got left. I’m surprised this here didn’t set her off. After they get the right information, for them to come back and still burn down the house, terrorism stuff, that’s wrong. And then, y’all gonna use that to make a move and talk about some empowerment? Y’all are being empowering? You’re not empowering at all. Y’all are terrorists.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said he was disgusted by the crowd’s actions.
“We investigate the information that is given to us,” he said. “We can’t allow an unruly crowd to determine what that investigation is. What you had today is vigilantism. You had people take the law into their own hands and run off of information that has not been proven.”
You can read more about the unfolding events here.
Things getting very tense in an alley at 39th and Lloyd in a missing girls case. Two teenage girls are missing, the crowd here says this house is where they were last seen. People in the crowd tell me it’s a known sex trafficking house. Police have not confirmed. @WISN12News pic.twitter.com/GiGiDhVKUp
— Caroline Reinwald (@WISN_Caroline) June 23, 2020
Minutes later, police left and the crowd began breaking windows/breaking into the house. People said they were upset because they believed sex trafficking was happening inside the home. You can see people in the crowd getting physical with other members of the media. @WISN12News pic.twitter.com/001Tee8C34
— Caroline Reinwald (@WISN_Caroline) June 24, 2020
Author : Sarah Taylor